Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 9.10.07, Morning

Observers: 
Rachel A., Dinah A. (Reporting)
Oct-9-2007
|
Morning

Translation: Rachel B.

It seems like what we observed today is a common phenomenon in the mornings during Ramadan (or maybe this is a result of despair) - the traffic of local residents going from one place to another is very light at all the checkpoints.

All the way to the Zaatara/Tapu'ach Junction there are no delays at any of the entrances to the villages.

Zaatara/Tapu'ach Junction

There is one car being checked on the approach from the west.  From the direction of Nablus there are 12 cars in line but none are detained and the traffic is flowing.

Huwwara

Other than butcher shops and the grocery stores, everything is still closed at 7:50 AM, apparently because daily activity starts later.

Yitzhar Junction

The checkpoints are not staffed either on the road to Huwwara and Beit Fureik, or on the way back.

Beit Fureik Junction: 8:00 AM

When we arrive the checkpoint is empty and there are no cars from either direction, neither coming in nor going out of Nablus.

In the soldiers' station there is one soldier, wearing a black kippah, who is praying.  A car arrives from Beit Fureik and immediately one of the soldiers signals the driver to come up to have the documents checked and the car goes through.  This is how things went the whole time we were here.

Once in a while a car or van drove up, the passengers, men and women on their way to Nablus, got out, got checked and proceeded quickly on their way.

A resident of Beit Fureik arrives.  He is married to a woman from the village and holds a Jordanian passport and a note that declares that he has applied for an ID card as part of "Family Reunification."  (To the best of our knowledge, he should expect to wait a long time for the ID card...)

He is detained, according to the soldiers on suspicion of holding a fake passport, because details in it are handwritten.  The checkpoint commander calls and requests assistance with verifying the validity of the passport.  The soldier who had been praying comes forward, explaining that he is from the Military Police, and states that the passport is OK and that there were periods in the past when details were written in by hand.  The passport is returned to its owner, the whole process having taken about 20 minutes. The man continues on his way to Nablus.

8:45 AM

The checkpoint is filling up with about 35 people waiting in line.  We check the time - it took 7 minutes to process all of them through the checkpoint. A number of women come out from Nablus with large, heavy packages balanced on their heads.  The soldiers don't check them and let them go through.

Altogether everything is going along smoothly and calmly, certainly relative to what happened yesterday.

Huwwara Checkpoint: 9:10 AM

Flowing traffic of residents going into Nablus in the morning and only a few people heading out of Nablus.

There are no cars either entering or exiting Nablus. It appears to us from a distance that the soldiers are playfully harassing one of the porters, not clear to us if in a friendly way to harass him.

9:20 AM

There are 4 cars at the entrance, a soldier arrives at the checkpoint and they are free to go through. There are 10 residents waiting at the exit.  They go through the usual examination which, for a change, is not done in a rude way.  Usually they are not required to take off their belts, just to empty their pockets.  People stop next to us and say "How long {will we have to endure this}?"

An elderly man stops next to us and asks us to get him a certain MachsomWatch sticker, maybe it would help him pass through the checkpoint without any problems.

9:30 AM

There is no one waiting to exit from Nablus. To the side of the turnstiles and checkpoint, a man passes by supporting an elderly woman with her eye bandaged up.

9:40 AM

A few people are waiting at the checkpoint.

A car with an Israeli license plate and a symbol of the European Union tries to enter into Nablus.  The driver has an entry permit but the car does not. He turns around and goes back.

Following him, another car with an Israeli license plate approaches.  According to the driver they always pass through without any problem.  In the car there is an activist from a German human rights organization.  The soldiers check their papers every which way - meaning the documents for both the car and the passengers.  The car has an entry permit.  The soldiers check the vehicle - they open the back door, move things around, etc. When they are done the German yells at them: ""You made a mess of these things, now put them back in order!  I come from a civilized country and you live in a civilized country too."  The soldiers are embarrassed and they put things back in order.

Close to 10:00 AM we left, as there was no dramatic change in the pattern of traffic.

On the way back, at the Zaatara/Tapu'ach Junction there is only one car from the direction of Nablus and 2 cars coming form the west.